Ohio State Buckeyes: 5 things to know about the win over Maryland

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud talks about Buckeyes win over Maryland

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State finished the first half of the season by throttling Maryland 66-17 on Saturday.

The seventh-ranked Buckeyes started fast and never really slowed down en route to their fourth straight win.

ExploreGame recap

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. The only thing that stopped Ohio State in the first half was the clock.

The Buckeyes scored touchdowns on their first five possessions then took a knee with 18 seconds left in the second quarter and a 35-10 lead.

C.J. Stroud completed 17 of 22 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He spread the ball around to four receivers with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and running back TreVeyon Henderson all catching at least three balls and all notching at least one explosive play.

The Buckeyes also scored touchdowns on their first three drives of the second half and then added a field goal on the fourth.

2. Nothing stopped Ohio State’s receivers.

Wilson, Olave and Smith-Njigba seemed to get open at will all day against the Terrapins, who were dealing with some injuries in the secondary.

“Our coverage technique was obviously poor,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley said. “It looked like guys were falling out of airplanes they were that wide open. As a coaching staff, we’ve got to do a better job calling (coverages) that the guys we have can execute.”

He said they started playing more Cover 2 zone in the second half to limit the deep ball, but by then it was too late.

Olave caught seven cases for 120 yards, Smith-Njigba had 103 yards on five catches and Wilson had 84 yards on five catches.

Wilson and Olave both had a pair of touchdown catches as well, and Olave passed Middletown High School grad Cris Carter to move into third place in career touchdown catches at Ohio State with 29.

ExploreWatch Beavercreek grad dot the 'i' in Script Ohio

3. A sharp Stroud took advantage.

In his second game back after sitting out to rest a sore shoulder, Ohio State’s starting quarterback looked superb again.

He finished the day 24-for-33 for 406 yards and five touchdowns. He became the second Ohio State quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in a game twice (joining Dwayne Haskins Jr.) and logged the sixth-most passing yards in a game by a Buckeye.

Stroud completed 17 of 23 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns a week earlier at Rutgers.

“I just have to do my job and do my work,” Stroud said. “We’re finally starting to roll and get momentum and finally getting used to how each other plays.”

He said he did not have a favorite touchdown pass on the day.

“I like ‘em all, man.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Ohio State football coach Ryan Day talks about C.J. Stroud's improvement

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

4. The starting defense held Maryland under 200 total yards.

The Terrapins’ talented offense had three scoring chances in the first half but came away with only 10 points as Ohio State pushed them back on two of the possessions.

Maryland drove to the Ohio State 21 on its first possession but settled for a field goal after a third down sack. They had a 75-yard touchdown drive early in the second quarter then advanced as far as the OSU 4 late in the second quarter.

The latter possession ended with a sack on fourth down as J.T. Tuimoloau tracked down Tagovailoa after a botched snap.

There were a few breakdowns, but overall the changes made to the scheme and decisions made with personnel over the past few weeks appear to be paying off.

“We’re playing with a lot more energy,” said linebacker Steele Chambers, who seven tackles. “We’re definitely getting more comfortable with the system that we put in. I think we just have more trust in each other that we’ll get our jobs done and we’ll do the right thing.”

The second-team defense snagged a pair of interceptions, including one Craig Young returned for a touchdown with 2:58 left.

Maryland finished with 335 total yards, including 279 through the air.

5. Next is a week off for the Buckeyes.

At the quarter pole, Ohio State was 2-1 and facing questions about its ability on defense and consistency on offense. After three straight blowout wins, the Buckeyes reached the midway point of the season looking to be at full-stride.

After the break, Ohio State goes to Indiana, where the Buckeyes will face an Indiana team that has failed to live up to expectations this season but could still be dangerous on its home field.

Then is a showdown with Penn State back at Ohio Stadium to set up what they hope will be another November to remember.

“We’re still nowhere near,” Day said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but you can see it’s a different team right now. There’s a different walk and a different look in their eye.”